A MEDIA WAR
Posted on November 26th, 2009

Abdul Zahoor Khan Marwat

Pakistan’s foreign office has `dismissed US newspaper’s article over the safety of Pakistan’s nuclear assets’. It termed the assertions made in the article `utterly misleading and totally baseless’. The FO’s rebuttal was obviously aimed at Seymour M. Hersh’s article “Defending the Arsenal: In an unstable Pakistan, can nuclear warheads be kept safe? The author had alleged: “The principal fear is mutiny””‚that extremists inside the Pakistani military might stage a coup, take control of some nuclear assets, or even divert a warhead”.

A cursory look on Hersh’s reports would make it conspicuous that he bases his report on anonymous unreliable sources. For instance, he had made the baseless claim that Kennedy already had a secret wife. Upon investigation, Hersh claimed that he had made the claim on the basis of documents signed by JF Kennedy. It later turned out that the documents had been forged by Cusack , one of Hersh’s sources. Cusack was convicted of forging the documents, `signed by John F. Kennedy’, by a federal jury in Manhattan. Hersh escaped punishment as his direct complicity could not be proved.

Amir Taheri has exposed unreliability of Hersh’s sources. He commented, “As soon as Hersh has made an assertion he cites a `source’ to back it. In every case this is either an un-named former official or an unidentified secret document passed to Hersh in unknown circumstances… By my count Hersh has anonymous ‘sources’ inside 30 foreign governments and virtually every department of the U.S. government.”

American president, US ambassador to Pakistan, and US secretary of state have stated that they have no qualms about safety of Pak nuke arsenal. It is eerie why Hersh and his sources harbour doubts about safety of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal. Hersh, born of Yiddish-speaking Jewish parents, is in the habit of making wild conjectures about Pakistan’s nuclear programme. In an earlier report, “ƒ”¹…”Iran for Khan deal’, he had claimed that Pakistan is helping the USA in her imminent attack on Iran (He claimed that US commandos were already inside Iran).

Contrary to Hersh’s assessment, the USA has always tolerated Islamic regime in Iran (though it pressed for regime change in Iraq). The USA called Iraq “ƒ”¹…”irredeemable’, “ƒ”¹…”beyond pale of international society’ (S.J.R Bilgrami’s Dynamics of Sanctions in World Affairs, p.141). But, such adjectival phrases were never used for Iran. The USA did not launch a full-scale invasion of Iran even when Iran had kept 54 Americans as hostages for 444 days (ironically, principle of “ƒ”¹…”diplomatic immunity’ evolved in Iran thousand years ago).

The reports by Hersh or Arnaud de Borchgrave are instantly republished in Indian media. A case in point is the press report titled `Pak, Saudi strike secret nuclear deal’, datelined Washington Times News Network, October 21, 2003.The Times of India dated October 22, 2003 published a similar report, ostensibly authored by Chidanand Rajghatta. The author attributed his report to “ƒ”¹…”a prominent American analyst and Pakistan watcher’, Arnaud de Borchgrave, an editor-at-large with the wire service UPI and the conservative Washington Times. Borchgrave, in turn, quotes an “unimpeachable source” and a “ƒ”¹…””ƒ”¹…”knowledgeable insider” in Pakistan, having confided to him that “ƒ”¹…”the agreement will be vehemently denied by both countries, but future events will confirm that Pakistan has agreed to provide the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with the wherewithal for a nuclear deterrent’. These biased reports are also followed up by RAW’s former officer B. Raman with his own additions. Avid readers may like to see Iran: An Open Letter to Seymour Hersh, Paper no. 1224, January 18, 2005, <http://www.saag.org/papers13/paper1224.html>,”ƒ”¹…”Why is Washington going easy on Pakistan’s nuclear black marketers? (<www. newyorker. com/ fact/ content? 040308 fa-fact, and Iran in US sights for air strikes, <www.smh.com.au>).

We need to identify behind the reports raising doubts about security of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal. It is India, our next-door neighbour, that is sponsoring pernicious reports against Pakistan’s nuclear programme. Hersh et al are India’s radio-transmitters in media war being waged against Pakistan. Professor Roddam Narisimha, in his article Technology in India’s Long term Security’, says “The new war cannot be tackled by government and armed forces using the classical ideas of Clausewitz. The global diffusion of information, technology and people has become the characteristic of the world today’. Aquilla and Ronfeldt have suggested that this new kind of conflict may be, best thought of as “ƒ”¹…”net-war’ which they see as a “ƒ”¹…”comprehensive information-based approach to social conflict’. India is engaged in a media psychotronic warfare against Pakistan.

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